The temperature gauge has fallen across the U.K., but events inside the ring at the Manchester Arena figure to be white hot Saturday as two little men square off, with one destined to have his big heart broken.
The long-awaited clash between unbeaten 122-pound champions Carl Frampton (21-0, 14 KOs) and Scott Quigg (31-0-2, 23 KOs) figures to be explosive, in part because there is zero love lost between the two rivals. That was quite evident during Thursday’s final news conference, which got heated, with both even arguing over who would get to use the “home” dressing room.
“I’m so looking forward to this,” says Frampton, a native of Belfast, Northern Ireland, who weighed in Friday at 121.7 pounds. “Scott Quigg will not be able to handle the skills I bring to the ring, and toward the middle of the fight he will start looking for a way out by landing some big shots. I will then open him up and finish him off early. I’ll win, 100 percent.”
Countered Quigg: “Carl Frampton has never been in the ring with anyone like me, and he will regret the day he signed to face me. I’ll beat him, I’ll knock him out and if he wants a rematch in Belfast, I’ll do it all again in six month’s time.”
Bravado aside, what can the 21,000 fans at sold-out Manchester Arena and those watching at home (Showtime, 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT) expect when the bell finally rings to start this 12-round showdown?
Well, Frampton has the technical advantages. He’s the more skilled boxer, possesses a terrific rapier-like jab, threshing machine hand speed, stamina in abundance and is as brave as they come. Had this bout taken place a few years ago, it would’ve been difficult to envision Quigg having much of a shot.
However, Quigg—a 27-year-old native of Bury, Lancashire, who tipped the scales Friday at 121.6 pounds—has been razor sharp of late, with nine of his last 10 victories being stoppages. That includes a pair of impressive triumphs over former world champion Kiko Martinez (second-round TKO in Quigg’s most recent fight this past July) and onetime title challenger Rendall Munroe (sixth-round TKO in November 2012).
For his part, Frampton, owns a pair of victories over Martinez, scoring a ninth-round TKO in February 2013 and a lopsided points decision in September 2014. The 29-year-old followed the latter win over Martinez with a fifth-round TKO of Chris Avalos last February.
“ Quigg is a good fighter, but I’m a class above. I’m better than him in every department, and he knows it. ” Carl Frampton
In his last outing in July, Frampton made his U.S. debut against Alejandro Gonzalez Jr. and promptly got dumped on the seat of his pants twice in the opening round. Although he recovered and went on to win a comfortable unanimous decision, the knockdowns—by a light-hitting opponent—have some wondering if Frampton’s chin can survive against the heavy-handed Quigg.
Certainly, Quigg doesn’t believe so.
“Frampton can’t beat a man of my power and talent,” Quigg says. “I have knocked out fighters and put them into the middle of next week, and I’m going to do the same to Frampton.
“He badly needs to learn a few lessons in humility, and I’m the one who is going to do it. It is not a question of if I am going to win but when. Believe me, he is getting knocked stone-cold out.”
Not only is Quigg the more powerful fighter, but he’s got a decided size advantage. At 5 feet 8 inches, he’s enormous for the 122-pound division and will tower over the 5-foot-5 Frampton. In addition to height and power, Quigg also will have the home-field edge, as Manchester is just 15 miles from Bury.
Then again, Quigg struggled against Yoandris Salinas, who, like Frampton, is technically proficient and knows how to command the ring.
Quigg and Salinas fought to a 12-round majority draw in London in October 2013—many ringside observers had Quigg losing—and Frampton’s skills are far superior to Salinas’. And the Irishman intends to prove just that on Saturday.
“Quigg is a good fighter, but I’m a class above,” Frampton says. “I’m better than him in every department, and he knows it.
“He took this fight to make a lot of money, and fair play to him for that, but he is going to get a boxing lesson in Manchester—an absolute lesson in the art of skilled fighting. Later in the fight, after dominating, I’m going to knock him out.”
Says Shane McGuigan, who trains Frampton: “The truth is, both of these boxers are world class, and the 1 or 2 percent difference in class will be the key. There is no doubt in my mind Carl has that extra 1 or 2 percent in his locker.”
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